Benefits of Synthetic Turf
Why has synthetic turf become so popular over the past few years?
Synthetic turf is a smart solution for playing fields and landscape that have become unsafe and unsightly from overuse or severe climatic conditions. A grass field simply cannot remain lush and resilient if it is used more than three to four days a week, or in the rain, or during the months when grass doesn’t grow. This fact, coupled with an escalating need for durable fields that accommodate multiple sports teams and activities, the high cost of maintaining a grass sports field, and the need to conserve water, have prompted a rising number of schools and parks to turn to synthetic turf to meet their program needs. Today’s synthetic turf is designed to simulate the experience of practicing and playing on the best grass fields.
Demand has grown to the point where more than 8,000 synthetic turf sports fields are now enjoyed in North American schools, colleges, parks and professional sports stadiums. About half of all NFL teams currently play their games on synthetic turf and, since 2003, over 70 FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup matches have been played on synthetic turf soccer fields.
How popular is synthetic grass for landscape and recreation use?
Synthetic grass for landscape, golf and other recreation applications is the fastest growing segment of the synthetic turf market. Over 35 million square feet of synthetic grass for landscape and recreation use was installed in 2012.
How is synthetic turf being used in the landscape and recreation market?
Thousands of homes, businesses, golf courses, municipalities, parks and tourist attractions like Disneyland and Steve Wynn’s Las Vegas resorts have turned to synthetic grass to provide a lush, attractive landscape solution that requires minimal resources and maintenance while saving millions of gallons of water each year. It is also a smart way to beautify public spaces such as highway medians and airport landing strips that would otherwise be difficult and expensive to maintain. Synthetic grass reduces city maintenance costs, freeing tax dollars for other purposes.
Synthetic turf also promotes greater utilization of land, as you can do more with the same space surface than with natural grass. Rooftops once deemed unusable for high rises and residential buildings can now feature inviting green area. Hotels that had to restrict the use of lawns for parties and events can now schedule as many functions as they can book.
What is synthetic turf?
The latest generation of synthetic turf is a grass-like ground cover that replicates lush natural grass in appearance and function. When used on athletic fields, it provides a consistent year-round, all-weather playing surface built to withstand extended use without downtime for recovery. As a landscape cover, synthetic turf provides a low maintenance, weed-free surface that doesn't need to be watered or fertilized, and is available in styles that look like the grass types that are prevalent locally.
How is synthetic turf made?
Most synthetic turf systems installed today include a drainage layer, a multi-layered backing system, and resilient "grass" blades that are infilled with a granular filler to resemble natural turf. "Infilled" means that the man-made grass blades are interspersed with a top soil created with sand and/or granulated recycled tire rubber or other infill materials that provide the necessary stability, uniformity, and resiliency. Each blade customarily stands above the infill material. The typical blade length and system characteristics are determined by the specific activity requirements. In some applications, the synthetic turf system includes a pad or elastic layer underneath the turf, often in combination with lower pile height and less infill.
How does the cost of a synthetic turf field compare to a natural turf field?
A synthetic turf field usually has a higher upfront cost, but the field often pays for itself over 3-4 years, proving to be a highly cost-effective investment. Synthetic turf fields are typically utilized for about 3,000 hours of play per year, with no "rest” required, the equivalent of three to four well-maintained natural turf fields. In addition, synthetic turf maintenance costs are two to three times less than natural turf, since no mowing, irrigation or chemicals are needed. Because of its consistent availability, a synthetic turf field is also a reliable source of rental revenue for schools and communities.
According to Cory Jenner, a landscape architecture professional in Syracuse, N.Y., the cost of installing and maintaining synthetic turf can be "Financially speaking, more cost-effective than natural grass over time,” Jenner said.